Could you recommend more anime that's like this other anime?
January 26, 2021 12:22 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for anime that's like Today's Menu for the Emiya Family and After School Dice Club.

Specifically, I'm looking for anime with a combination of:

- mostly normal people doing mostly normal things in mostly normal places (my son has told me that the Emiya folks are anything but normal, and that's cool, but they're all living largely pedestrian lives in this particular version of the Fate universe - visiting cafes, buying groceries, making dinner - and that's what I'm after.) Please don't feel like you need to exclude something because somebody has fox ears if it's otherwise relatable and down to earth (eg, Kiki's Delivery Service).

- low key drama - the characters face ordinary personal, social or family problems, not giants eating people. They might not have any dramas at all - they just wander around having interesting conversations. That's fine too.

- people generally being cool to one another - the characters are supportive and help one another to navigate their ordinary problems by being there for them and doing small things rather than SHOUTING ALL THE TIME and CASTING ALL THE SPELLS and SHOOTING ALL THE MECHA. Here's a hug, and some encouraging words, and some soup, and here's the recipe for the soup, would you like to learn how to play Cockroach Poker after you're done?

- something educational and practical - hey, I learned a new recipe; hey, I learned a new board game; hey, I learned something could be anything. Baseball? Gardening? I'm easy.

I already have everything Ghibli. No, it doesn't have to be about cooking or boardgames specifically (but I won't say no to more of either). I'm watching Midnight Diner and it's sort of low key and human and there are recipes but there's also a lot of getting stabbed in the street and dying suddenly from cancer.

I have Netflix, Amazon Prime, Crunchyroll and Animelab but I'm also happy to buy stuff if it's good.

posted by some little punk in a rocket to Media & Arts (21 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
My Roommate is a Cat (Crunchyroll).

Shy novelist inadvertently adopts a cat. Struggles with how to care for a cat and relating to others. Includes educational cat care facts.
posted by siskin at 12:43 AM on January 26 [3 favorites]

Sweetness and Lightning is about a single dad, his little girl, and the high school student who invites them to cook with her at her family’s restaurant. The manga has recipes, I don’t recall how the anime handled this. (Crunchyroll)

I loved March Comes In like a Lion. The main character is a high school student and shogi (Japanese chess) professional, and he’s also dealing with depression. He chances to meet a family that begins to treat him as one of their own. But I wept at the end of almost every episode, just letting you know. (Crunchyroll)

Honey and Clover is about art school students and is by the same mangaka who created March Comes In like a Lion. (Crunchyroll)

Natsume’s Book of Friends (Natsume Yujin-cho) is about a high school student with the ability to see youkai (sort of supernatural beings). They come to him to ask to be released from a contract his grandmother made with them. I loved this, too. (Crunchyroll)

Wotakoi: Love Is Hard for Otaku is a comedy romance about four friends/coworkers and their love of gaming, cosplay, etc. (Amazon Prime)
posted by dywypi at 12:52 AM on January 26

I asked my BFF whose taste in anime is wide ranging but has a core of exactly this and here is his response:

Laidback Camp
(Crunchyroll) - high school girls of varying experience levels enjoy some chill camping.
Flying Witch (Crunchyroll) - Makoto Kowata, who happens to be a witch, moves to the country and introduces her normie cousins to the world of magic lurking just out of view while enjoying a mundane life in the countryside and learning to be a better witch.
Restaurant to Another World (Crunchyroll) - Every saturday, the door of a western-style restaurant in Tokyo opens into a fantasy world; a wide array of guests come through and enjoy the cooking.
K-On! (Netflix) - Follows the light music club at a high school as they learn to enjoy playing music together and just hang out.
Chihayafuru (Crunchyroll) - if you're up for a sports show, consider this one about people playing karuta.

I also personally suggest Monthly Girl's Nozaki-kun (Netflix) which is a comedy show about a manga-ka and the girl who has a crush on him but is really about friendship and has interesting takes on how some manga gets made.
posted by Mizu at 1:54 AM on January 26 [3 favorites]

Im going to plug Yakitate!! which is a gradually escalating bread competition. The only threat is that the protagonist might lose a bake-off (although there are some raised stakes at the very end). I love it and did learn things about bread, but as far as I know it is only subbed and not dubbed and I don't know about availability.

I second March Comes in like a Lion.
posted by stillnocturnal at 4:16 AM on January 26

Seconding Flying Witch has a few magical elements but it's mostly watch cute, enjoyable characters enjoy their time in the country side and is totally worth watching.

If you've never seen shirokuma's cafe, which is about talking zoo animals working at the zoo and chatting at the local cafe, it's very laid back slice of life anime with some very cute moments.

Neither of these meet your learn something requirement, but really meet your other just super peaceful anime with relatable characters where nothing too dramatic happens.
posted by AlexiaSky at 4:51 AM on January 26 [1 favorite]

Seconding Honey and Clover. Sound! Euphonium is like this, too; it’s about kids in a high school wind ensemble competition and was like being a high school band nerd all over again.

If you can deal with semi-sentient teddy bears (they’re basically slacker roommates), Rilakkuma and Kaoru is exactly this in every other way.

If live action is okay, Samurai Gourmet is much less melodramatic than Midnight Diner. The main character reads samurai stories and sometimes imagines what a samurai would do in his mild social-anxiety-provoking situation. Is it okay to have a beer at lunchtime? What would a samurai do? The samurai’s not normal but in context I think you’d go for it. Sometimes there are recipes. There are always gorgeous food prep shots.
posted by tchemgrrl at 5:03 AM on January 26

ARIA: the Animation. Mostly normal characters (apart from a few sentient cats), in mostly normal places (it's on Mars, but it's just Venice), doing mostly normal things (occasionally they time travel or go to ghost domains but mostly they learn to be gondola tour guides). There are little tidbits of Venetian culture for the viewer to learn but they're not the focus.
Sketchbook: Full Colours. School art club spends a lot of time making puns. Protagonist has social anxiety. Seniors do some kind of performance art with puppets. The cats think the humans are ridiculous. You will learn a lot of Japanese words from the translator's notes. Shirokuma Cafe also has a lot of translator notes.
Bartender. People tell their sad stories and a therapist mixes a drink for them. Might be educational about different alcoholic drinks, I dunno.
Nodame Cantabile is about music students. You'll learn a bit about classical music and what goes into making it. Unfortunately the "slapstick comedy" mostly just reads as domestic violence to me.
Kids on the Slope is about a jazz drummer and the classical pianist who switches to playing jazz with him. Their relationship is sometimes a bit rocky. Content warning for one episode with strong anti-black racism.
Nana is about two rock bands and the people in their orbit. Half the characters are famous, but they're still very human. This might not fit your requirements because the emotional distress is non-stop. There's also one relationship in particular that's very abusive.
Seconding Chihayafuru, content warning for frequent fatphobia.

There's plenty more but I'll leave it there. The genres you're looking for are Slice of Life and Iyashikei.
posted by polytope subirb enby-of-piano-dice at 6:30 AM on January 26

Princess Jellyfish. Pretty sure I saw it on Netflix.

From Wikipedia: "Princess Jellyfish centers on Amamizukan, an apartment building in Tokyo, where the only tenants are otaku women, and where no men are allowed. While each character has her own particular fixation, the protagonist is Tsukimi Kurashita, whose love of jellyfish stems from memories of her deceased mother taking her to an aquarium and linking the lace-like tendrils of jellyfish to the dresses of princesses. Tsukimi hopes to become an illustrator and is an awkward girl terrified of social interaction, attractive people and the prospect of formal work."
posted by Boxenmacher at 7:56 AM on January 26 [4 favorites]

Hikaru No Go is about a boy who learns Go after he becomes haunted by the ghost of an ancient Japanese ago player. The last part of the series is pretty intensely into his life as a Go player but the first couple of seasons is about him learning Go and hanging out with his friends and going to school and trying to keep his ghost happy and there are her short ago instructional videos after each episode. Sounds like just what you need!
posted by bq at 8:02 AM on January 26 [2 favorites]

I highly recommend Shirobako, a series about women graduating from high school with the dream of eventually making their own anime series, and entering the industry.

It's a surprisingly deep and nuanced look into the making of the sausage, complete with an insane amount of insider jokes and references. (Many of the staff and various studios are based off of well known people and their businesses, let alone the anime we see them working on and the ones seen in flashbacks and what not.) Added bonus for the insane amount of amazing artwork done - the office spaces feel real, and the anime in the anime capture the time and styles so well.

Some others that might be worth the time...

Mushishi - One of my personal favorite shows of all time. Follows Ginko, a traveling 'doctor' in an alternate 19th century Japan (think Princess Mononoke) who helps people having problems with Mushishi, kind of like spiritual creatures that have gotten too close to people causing strange things to happen. It's very down to earth, more like a mystical medical detective show and has a feel unlike anything else.

A Place Further Than the Universe - Some female students getting together to visit Antartica, where one of their parents when missing.

Haibane Renmei - Every day life of a bunch of angel like beings, very slowly building into a more focused story.
posted by rambling wanderlust at 8:08 AM on January 26

I thought about Hikaru no Go and then didn't recommend it and here is why:it does meet all your criteria and most if not all of the tension is about board game competition.But it does a really really really good job of making that feel intense. In general, I'd say go for it, but if your looking for something more calming there were definately times where in watched an episode and was completely on edge because the drama felt really big. YMMV.
posted by AlexiaSky at 8:57 AM on January 26

its weird, but i've totally tried recipes (whole youtube genre of people trying the recipes) Shokugeki no sama/Food Wars. Another one that surprised me in how much I enjoyed it is the non-fantasy, no-robot-battles ToRaDoRa.
posted by th3ph17 at 9:28 AM on January 26

The protagonist in Silver Spoon enrolls in an agriculture high school instead of a "college prep" one. While there is some internal conflict (e.g. when city boy "learns first hand" where his food (including animal protein) comes from), there are plenty of happy moments too.

The Great Passage is about editing a dictionary. A few years ago I watched it on Amazon Prime.

Baby Steps, Yowamushi Pedal, and Minami Kamakura High School Girls Cycling Club
are about unlikely characters finding success in tennis, cycling, and cycling, respectively.

Metafilter posts re Yuri On Ice, Yakitate!! Japan, Hibike! Euphonium.
posted by oceano at 11:43 AM on January 26 [1 favorite]

Maison Ikkoku: A high-school graduate boards at a rooming house in Tokyo, studying for his second attempt at college entrance exams. He is alternately embraced by and bedeviled by the other boarders. This was very reminiscent of my time in Japan.
posted by Performing Without Annette at 2:33 PM on January 26

Seconding recommendations for
The Great Passage
Silver Spoon

Keep Your Hands off Eizouken! is about a core group of three high school girls making anime, but it's also a fantastic exploration of the creative process, and a love letter to anime to boot.

Cells at Work! and Cells at Work! Code Black feature anthropomorphized cells of your body, working hard to keep you alive and healthy. You definitely learn a lot of things about how your body works!

Currently on Crunchyroll is Heaven's Design Team - the setting is fantastical, as God has outsourced the design of living creatures to the aforementioned design studio, but the workplace drama is too real, especially if you've worked in a design studio yourself. And there are little informative segments on some of these weird creations that turn out to be animals that actually exist.

Servant x Service is about civil servants working in a district office in Hokkaido and I think folks who've worked customer service jobs will sympathize with the situations the characters encounter.
posted by needled at 4:16 PM on January 26

tl;dr: this is more or less a scrape of everything I enjoyed that are listed in the the "slice of life" lists on Funimation and Crunchyroll over the past seven or so years. It's kind of unfair to dump a wall of text on you so, IMO, seek out these first:
Wave, Listen to Me!
Gal & Dino
Polar Bear Cafe
Recovery of an MMO Junkie
Skull-Face Bookseller Honda-San
I also second many of the above recs, especially Eizoken, Silver Spoon, Shirobako, Flying Witch, and Sweetness & Lightning.

Wave, Listen to Me! (Funimation) is about a twentysomething woman stuck at a dead-end job in Sapporo who finds her calling (maybe) as a late-night radio host. There's slapstick comedy and the main character is somewhat larger-than-life and speaks a mile-a-minute, so it's hard to call it low-key, but it's non-fantastical and there's an emotional honesty about her and her situations that grounds everything.

Dagashi Kashi (both Funimation and, I think, Crunchyroll) is about a teenage boy in a small town in the middle of nowhere whose slacker single-parent dad runs a penny candy shop, and the industrialist heiress who swoops in and causes chaos. No supernatural elements but not especially realistic either, it's kind of hard to explain why it's entertaining when it's equal parts infomercial about obscure small-time snacks and the usual moments of schoolkids figuring out what to do with their lives. The first season is good, the second season is okay but has a feel of treading water.

Gal & Dino (Funimation) is set in a brightly-colored world of Japanese people (and a dinosaur) being good to each other during idle moments. Half of each episode is live-action and frequently even more bizarre than the animated half.

Anime Kapibarasan (Crunchyroll) is a series of three-minute videos of extremely laid-back capybaras. This is still updating weekly but they have 16 intense episodes about eating grass or swimming or eating an apple available already.

How to Keep a Mummy (Crunchyroll) is about a teenage boy and the tiny cute supernatural creatures that hang out with him and his friends. Nothing much of note happens but it's not exactly boring either. It's a good shut-off-brane series.

I Can't Understand What My Husband Is Saying (Crunchyroll) is a lighthearted look at an otaku couple. It's mostly a sitcom but there are some adult themes (albeit not explicit) so I'd be leery about letting kids watch. The mangaka who created this series also made "Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid".

Isekai Izekaya (Crunchyroll) is strikingly similar to Restaurant to Another World mentioned above, although the stories (and the food) are sufficiently different to make both worth watching if you liked one of them.

Poko's Udon World (Crunchyroll) is a mushy story about a guy (and his tanuki proxying for a manic pixie girl) trying to find a goal in life but I guess I found the story about somebody who moves from the small town to the big city back to the small town kind of relatable. It definitely has moments.

Polar Bear Cafe (Crunchyroll) is another series where nothing much happens but manages to keep your interest the whole time. A polar bear runs a café. His regular customers are a deadbeat panda and a busybody penguin. The comedy is mostly minor situations rendered trivial, and nonstop wordplay.

Recovery of an MMO Junkie (Crunchyroll) is an excellent series about a woman who retreats from a bad work situation to a life as a hikikomori, and how she emerges again. The story manages to keep the tone lighthearted without trivializing her emotional burden; much of the show is set in the MMORPG but there's no expectation of viewers to be intimately familiar with online gaming.

Sekko Boys (Crunchyroll) is an extremely silly series about a boy band comprised of plaster busts. Episodes are short, just long enough to set up one gag and let it play out.

Skull-Face Bookseller Honda-San (Crunchyroll) is a slice-of-life series about working in a department of a major Japanese bookstore, and their idiosyncratic colleagues and characters. The stories are from the mangaka's life, identities of people involved are obscured by giving them helmets, masks, skull-heads, etc.

Tonkatsu DJ Agetaro (Crunchyroll) is about a boy who works hard to become a big-time club DJ, and the tonkatsu shop his family runs. It's a weird, funky show but also kind of moral and uplifting, if that makes sense? Episodes are short, about 10 minutes.

Wakakozake (Crunchyroll) is about a woman who seeks out a small restaurant or izekaya or stand each week and has a drink and a plate of food. Each episode is maybe five minutes. Bad for your diet.

You Don't Know Gunma Yet (Crunchyroll) inverts the usual tourism anime genre by making Gunma seem haunted and dangerous, although nothing terrible actually happens. Maybe. Each episode is about five minutes.

For more suggestions you might want to look up recommendations for Iyashikei ("healing") anime. There have been some previous discussions on Mefi about it.
posted by ardgedee at 6:37 PM on January 26

I'm currently obsessed with Hori-san to Miyamura-kun. [Trailer] It's currently streaming weekly on Japanese Netflix, but I'm not sure about Crunchyroll or US Netflix yet. There's definitely a subbed version already though, on more, ahem, less-official streaming sites. Message me if you'd like more info.
posted by lesser weasel at 12:44 AM on January 27

> I'm currently obsessed with Hori-san to Miyamura-kun. It's currently streaming weekly on Japanese Netflix, but I'm not sure about Crunchyroll or US Netflix yet.

It's on Funimation as Horimiya
posted by ardgedee at 5:32 AM on January 27

Oh lord why have I never asked this question, so many of my favourite chilled-out anime here! Definitely returning to mine this for good stuff later.
posted by signsofrain at 6:14 AM on January 27

Nodame Cantabile was a great music-school anime with three seasons. In fact, so many of the recommendations here originated in the Noitamina block. That's a great place to look for generally good quality non-shonen shows.
posted by rikschell at 5:21 PM on January 27

Response by poster: Thank you everybody. Full disclosure - I've been meaning to ask this for ages, but was secretly terrified the answer would be "no, you've watched them both". Our watch list whiteboard is now overflowing with good things. They are very much needed and appreciated, as are you all.
posted by some little punk in a rocket at 6:02 PM on February 2

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